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Visibility Modeling - 5/18/2011 7:47:15 PM   
vandorenp

 

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I am still wondering what is going on with visibility in BFTB. Most of the time I just dwell on it for a moment and move on. Decided this time I will ask about it.

Seems to me that
1) condition (as in light fog) and the visibility statement in the little weather window are not matched and
2) the information in the little weather window is not matched to the visibility in the game.

Just now the window says "light fog" just before sunrise and the visibility is stated as 5.6 km. This does not match.

Using the LOS tool we see on the map that the visibility is about 3.5 km. This also does not match with light fog nor 5.6 km.

I see on wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visibility that
fog is a visibility of less than 1 kilometre (3,300 ft);
mist is a visibility of between 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) and 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) and
haze from 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) to 5 kilometres (3.1 mi).

Even if all of this is straightened out there could still be another mismatch between the game (game historical weather and actual historical conditions. For instance I have never seen in BFTB a daylight situation were visibility was near zero such as at Noville.


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RE: Visibility Modeling - 5/18/2011 9:48:20 PM   
OlegHasky

 

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quote:

For instance I have never seen in BFTB a daylight situation were visibility was near zero such as at Noville


My abstraction tells me, that despite the actual visibility zero (when hard snowing), bftb reflecting/allowing in human sub-concious awareness of the enemy in front, transfering it to higher visibility values

And Im affraid only dreams can relief you here vandorenp, as there appeares to be no explenation for this indeed.


< Message edited by OlegHasky -- 5/18/2011 9:51:48 PM >


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RE: Visibility Modeling - 5/19/2011 12:25:10 AM   
Lieste

 

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For the most part, visibility is exposed on the mods side. It is possible to strongly increase the cover/concealment of all terrain types for static/deployed troops using the map-editor, it is also possible to edit the map's weather and visibility/terrain effects. Minimum terrain visibility is around 200m, it is possible to drive the nominal values below this, but practical ranges seem to always be above this threshold - weather/time of day will allow unspotted defenders to be overrun and bypassed without receiving fire if they are restrictive on top of good cover, but the near-stock values for firing and moving elements mean that a position really only gets a single ambush if there are additional spotters nearby even at night/in poor visibility.

From my point of view, this improves the game as a simulation sandbox *particularly with the player attacking towards the objectives*, however, some care is needed, as the AI needs to see intel at all times to build it's plan around - in the attack it doesn't understand that the 'empty' city that it is supposed to be assaulting towards is just possibly crawling with enemy troops, unless it can actually see them there... and as for forming some plan for clearing the ridgelines and forests between 'here' and the main objective - not even a consideration unless it can actually now see someone defending there. With the 'exposed' movement I use, the AI gets plenty of advance warning of an attack coming though, so is competent in defence still. It is a bit anaemic with use of artillery and air against stalled attacks though.

While editing the terrain visibility parameters, I also reduced cover against direct fires, and increased those against indirect/area, for most types. The original settings favoured area fire/artillery/air over direct fires about 150:100, which didn't seem to account for the unaimed nature of area fire, and the shorter ranges of most direct fires due to increased compartmentalisation of the battlefield. Artillery is still dominant due to it's universal availability - but a close range fire-fight is more decisive, and infantry is sometimes worth more than either armour or artillery - a feeling I seldom had with the stock scenarios, where infantry was used because nothing better was available, not because you wanted to...

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RE: Visibility Modeling - 5/19/2011 1:40:04 AM   
Arjuna


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Lieste,

Re terrain adjustyments for cover effects for direct and area fire. I like your approach, however, I want to first step through and ensure that the reason for the lack of effectiveness of direct fire is in fact not caused by some other factor. I tried this the other day bu gave up due to the <Bad Ptr> issue in the debugger. Once MS sort this out I'll reinvestigate. And if MS don't get it sorted soon I'll be forced to write a log file and interogate the process after the event. I hope I don't have to go that route but we'll see.



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RE: Visibility Modeling - 5/19/2011 1:43:20 AM   
Arjuna


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Paul V,

Remember that the visibility range displayed in the weather display is based on a theoretical maximum of 10km modified by a time of day mod accounting for night/dusk/sunrise etc and by the visibility mod for the current weather state which is drawn from the data stored in the map file. So if you think that the visibility for fog should be less than what we have set just change the setting in the MapMaker. Likewise for the time of day mod. Go to the Map->MapEffects menu and change the values there.

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RE: Visibility Modeling - 5/20/2011 6:00:32 AM   
vandorenp

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Arjuna
Go to the Map->MapEffects menu and change the values there.


Uhh.. I skipped over that part of the manual Getting on it.

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RE: Visibility Modeling - 5/21/2011 7:13:47 PM   
vandorenp

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Arjuna

Paul V,
... So if you think that the visibility for fog should be less than what we have set just change the setting in the MapMaker. Likewise for the time of day mod. Go to the Map->MapEffects menu and change the values there.


I presume you meant for the expansion module KOAD that I am working on. Am doing so.

But I am wondering why wouldn't have all the BFTB maps have been set to the international standards?




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RE: Visibility Modeling - 5/22/2011 2:16:01 AM   
Arjuna


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I'll leave that to Richard to address. He's managing the data content.

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RE: Visibility Modeling - 5/23/2011 3:07:00 AM   
wodin


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quote:

ORIGINAL: vandorenp


quote:

ORIGINAL: Arjuna

Paul V,
... So if you think that the visibility for fog should be less than what we have set just change the setting in the MapMaker. Likewise for the time of day mod. Go to the Map->MapEffects menu and change the values there.


I presume you meant for the expansion module KOAD that I am working on. Am doing so.

But I am wondering why wouldn't have all the BFTB maps have been set to the international standards?






Expansion module KOAD???? More info please...

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RE: Visibility Modeling - 5/23/2011 2:36:50 PM   
vandorenp

 

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KOAD is Knock on All Doors. This supposes that as a result of a second Kriegspiel conference 5Pz Army - Manteufel was given command of the initial assault. His concept Knock on all Doors is combined with ideas from other commanders.  Do you have access to the development area?


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RE: Visibility Modeling - 5/23/2011 2:37:18 PM   
simovitch


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Arjuna

I'll leave that to Richard to address. He's managing the data content.

We have had this weather debate in years past and we decided to stick with what we have.

The weather is remarkably dynamic in the Ardennes. If it was foggy in Noville there was a good chance it was clear on the next ridge over. Ask anyone who lives there, or has been there in the winter.


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RE: Visibility Modeling - 5/23/2011 9:39:16 PM   
phoenix

 

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I can say that's correct. Live in Brussels and been down to the Ardennes a bit. Same with any mildly hilly area I've been in. Next ridge can be very different.

That said, the accounts of the fighting in Noville (Seven Roads to Hell, for example) do suggest a more general type of white-out for quite a while. A blanket of freezing no-visibilty stuff that descended on the area.

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RE: Visibility Modeling - 5/23/2011 9:40:49 PM   
phoenix

 

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KOAD? Development area. What are you referring to Vandorenp? I'm intrigued.

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RE: Visibility Modeling - 5/23/2011 10:19:49 PM   
simovitch


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quote:

ORIGINAL: phoenix

KOAD? Development area. What are you referring to Vandorenp? I'm intrigued.

The development area is a restricted server available only to the development team. Paul Van Doren is on our development team and is working on an expansion module based on an alternative German deployment in the Ardennes.

Anyone who witnessed the price flame-wars knows that Wodin is not a member of the development team.

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RE: Visibility Modeling - 5/27/2011 11:21:53 PM   
vandorenp

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: simovitch
We have had this weather debate in years past and we decided to stick with what we have.


So we go with a bias that
1) negates the German ability to infiltrate on the morning of the 16th
2) uses visibilities that are incongruous with the word Fog or haze
3) does not replicate the numerous personal observations about the early morning visibility in the draws and ravines. The history books make much of the limited visibility. Not once not anywhere do you get visibilities as described.

It would be better to do one of more of the following:
1) apply the fog effect in the valleys and draws as if there were forests there.
2) use a normal distribution generated fog modification to the 100 meter squares
3) In the weather report modify the verbiage to orient the actual visibilities in the game. Such as intermittent fog, prevailing fog or fog in low lying areas.

Here is the 8th AAF Weather summary by day for the Tactical AF Bases and the battle area.
16th Very low clouds and fog patches. Visibility poor. Light rain
17th Overcast clouds, base 1-2,000 ft with intermittent rain. Visibility 3-5 miles
18th Overcast clouds, base 3-600 ft with light intermittent rain becoming broken at 500-1,000 ft during the late afternoon. Visibility 2-6 miles also fog patches in the southern sector
19th Foggy conditions all day. Visibility less than 100 yards
20th Foggy conditions all day. Visibility less than 100 yards
21st Foggy conditions all day. Visibility less than 100 yards
22nd Overcast clouds, base 3-500 ft with light intermittent rain and snow. Visibility 500-1,000 yards reduced to 100 yards in precipitation
23rd Fog and stratus conditions in the morning, breaking to small amounts of cloud during the afternoon. Visibility 500-1,500 yards, improving to 1-2 miles in the afternoon.
24th Clear. Visibility 3-5 miles
25th Clear except fog patches in the morning. Visibility 1-2,000 yards becoming 2-4 miles in the afternoon
26th Clear except for fog patches. Visibility 1-3 miles restricted to 1,000 yards in fog patches
27th Clear except for ground fog. Visibility 500-2,000 yards becoming 1,500 yards to 2 miles in afternoon
28th Fog and stratus conditions base of stratus 100-400 ft. Visibility 100-1,000 yards.
29th Fog and stratus conditions base of stratus 300-700 ft. Visibility 2-500 yards except 1-2 miles in southern sector
30th Broken to overcast clouds. Base 2-5,000 ft lowering to 500-1,00 ft in precipitation in the afternoon. Visibility 1-3,000 yds reduced to 500-1,000 yards in patchy fog.
31st Broken clouds with snow showers. Visibility 3-5 miles restricted to 1-2,000 yards in snow showers

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I'll put the rest up later
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I don't think that the calculated visibilities in use now give the look and feel of the conditions described above or by the vets. As it stands the minimum ranges in the game are about at the max range of machine guns. They never get worse.







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RE: Visibility Modeling - 5/28/2011 3:46:35 AM   
Lieste

 

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They are modifications to the prevailing terrain visibility if I read it correctly (and is saying the right thing). So if your prevailing terrain visibility is 10km for deployed infantry (some terrains are, however the normal is for about 3-4km) then modest reduction given by poor weather is inadequate for any sensible purpose.

OTOH, if many terrains give a max visibility of under 1km for deployed troops (with less drastic reductions when viewing through air (ie across valleys)) then the modest reductions still have  a useful effect... be careful with the AI, it is dumber than a box of rocks when it can't see/guess where enemies are - just because it can't see, it assumes it has control.
It is strongly recommended to lace the main objectives with false units intel reports - these won't move or get invalidated by the unit moving into sight so should remain on 'hostile' terrain for longer than real units will. You could even specify that you have used a particular class of unit to generate these (max-level) intel reports for AI use if you don't want to add excessive confusion to the player.

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RE: Visibility Modeling - 6/1/2011 5:45:20 PM   
GoodGuy

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Lieste

.....be careful with the AI, it is dumber than a box of rocks when it can't see/guess where enemies are - just because it can't see, it assumes it has control.


Well, then the AI code could be upgraded so that it would check the weather conditions *dream mode on* and send out local patrols (just like the historical military procedure) to probe the surrounding areas and or frontline (if it's not situated at fortified or entrenched lines or line units).

Less realitic visibility or non-historical weather conditions and non-historical/geographical visibility conditions may be a showstopper for quite some people.


quote:

ORIGINAL: phoenix

....Same with any mildly hilly area I've been in. Next ridge can be very different.


Correct. Just like the Ardennes area, the Eifel (Vulcano region) on the German side or say the Oberbergisches Land (hilly area east of Cologne) feature these kinda differencies regarding weather conditions.

Example: My grandparent's hometown in the "Oberbergisches Land", situated in a valley, uses to be fog-free for most of the year. Yet, a little neighbor village (on a ridge, which is one of those points with the highest elevations in the area) 4.5 kilometers to the north often has some evil fog, with less than 50 or 70 meters visibility, sometimes even just 20 meters.

Check out the picture, usually, most of the flanks of the ridge are fog free (if lower than the marked areas), I marked the fog zones with yellow arrows. My Grandfather's hometown in the valley (red arrow) in the distance (4.5 km from the ridge) has no fog usually, plus the street leading down to the valley is fog-free right where the street starts to descend:




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by GoodGuy -- 6/1/2011 6:05:49 PM >

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RE: Visibility Modeling - 6/1/2011 6:04:22 PM   
GoodGuy

 

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This is the valley. The red arrow marks the town's center.
For the most time of the year, there's absolutely no fog in that valley, just some fog up on that ridge behind the arrow,
and maybe sometimes some fog on the ridge on the left. Sorry, Google has no high res images of these areas.





So..... with some local/historical scenarios, being able to specify local weather/visibility maps will be crucial, since the visibility may vary drastically.



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< Message edited by GoodGuy -- 6/1/2011 6:16:49 PM >


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RE: Visibility Modeling - 6/1/2011 8:24:55 PM   
Lieste

 

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Isn't Fog normally found in a temperature inversion (ie at lower altitudes). I would expect 'fog' on a ridgeline to be low cloud instead. One way of handling it in a cheap way would be to restrict visibility by altitude band - although technically it should be possible to have clear terrain above and below a cloud layer once you start getting too fancy it becomes hard to implement in a workable solution (for the scenario designer, the AI and players).

I would suggest allowing fog up to a specific altitude and cloud above another with a possible clear/hazy zone between with better visibility, uniform over the map. Then LOS checks would have to combine up to possibly three segments of the LOS ray, passing into and out of Fog and Cloud. Trickier than what we have at present, but not too much so.

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RE: Visibility Modeling - more 8 AAF weather reports - 6/9/2011 5:21:11 PM   
vandorenp

 

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1 Jan Clear, to scattered clouds. visibiliy 3-5 miles redued to 1-2 miles in patchy fog and haze
2nd Scattered to broken clouds becoming broke to overcast, base 500-1000 ft with light rain during afternoon. Visibility 1-2 miles restricted to less thn 1 mile in fog and rain.
3rd Foggy conditions in morning, overcast, cloud base 2-300 ft. during the aternoon except stratus clouds in the norhern area all day. Visibility less than 50 yards in the moning becoming 1,000-1,500 yards in the afternoon except 1,000-1,500 yards in he southern area all day.
4th Overcast clouds, base 100-500 ft with snow. Snow showers only in the northern areas. Visibility 1 mil restricted to less than 100 yards in precipitation
5th Brokn clouds, base 1,000-2,000 ft with snow showers. visibility 3-5 mils, except less than 500 yards in patchy fog.
6th Foggy condition. Visibiloity 50-200 yards improving to 500-1,000 yards durin the afternoon
7th Foggy conditions in the moning becoming broken to overcast base 300-900 ft with snow showers during the afternoon. Visibility 500--1,000 yds improving to 2-4 miles during th afternoon except 1 mile in snow showers.
8th Broken to overcast clouds, base 500-1,000 ft with havy snow showers. Visibility 2-4 miles reduced to less than 1 mile in precipitation
9th Overcast clouds, base 500-1,000 ft with heavy snow showers, Visibility 1-2 miles.
10th Small amounts of clouds and fog. Visibility 1-200 yds, locally less than 50 yards
11th Foggy conditions, Visibility 100 yards to 500 yards improving to 500-1,500 yards in the afternoon.
12th Overcast clouds, base 300-600 ft with light intermitent snow improving to smll amounts of clouds during the afternoon. Visibility 500-1,000 yards restricted in ocal areas to less than 500 yards.
13th Foggy conditions with small amounts of cloud. Visibility 500-1,000, locally less than 500 yards.
14th Clear to scattered clouds. Visibility 2-4 miles, retricted in local areas to 1-2 miloes in fog and haze
15th Foggy condition, visibility less than 500 yrds in the forenoon, becoming 800-1,500 yards in the afternoon

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RE: Visibility Modeling - 6/9/2011 6:29:25 PM   
vandorenp

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: simovitch
We have had this weather debate in years past and we decided to stick with what we have.

The weather is remarkably dynamic in the Ardennes. If it was foggy in Noville there was a good chance it was clear on the next ridge over. Ask anyone who lives there, or has been there in the winter.


Richard,
I'm thinking that the way to think about the visibility is that at any one spot the visibility will change through out the day. Some spots will tend to be better than most and some spots will be worse than most. But all spots will experience the worst some time and the best sometime. So I used the international standards in the 03 KO Loscheim and found consistently that visibilities ranged from 300m to a high for a few hours of 10Km. This I think makes for a better BoB look and feel.

One thing is for sure is the night time visibilities in BFTB when there is no moon or star light is too high. I have led infantry operations at night with over cast skies. Even with bino's, which are a lot of help, you don't get the visibility seen in BFTB at night. Throw in a little haze and its horrible.

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RE: Visibility Modeling - 1/30/2013 5:24:23 AM   
RockinHarry


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I too wondered about the visibility figures in BftB right from the start. For my own map/mission works I settled to the following values, which work fairly well for me:

Visibility Weather Modifiers

Clear: 80
Lt Rain/Haze: 30
Heavy Rain/Mist: 15
Downpour/Fog: 10
Peasouper: 5

I think the original values are generally better suited for mediterran or desert areas, where air humidity has less of an impact on visibility.

Currently I don´t care about my changed settings to mess with the AI´s general planning abilities, but the main impulse me shortening visibility to more real life settings, was the AI´s ability to rule excessive parts of the battlefield with Arty, at the original longer visibility. The more so in bad weather conditions.

The longer Visibility ranges IMHO too much encourages the AI to blast every target of opportunity (vulnerable units, on the move ect.), instead of better support an ongoing attack, or defense.



< Message edited by RockinHarry -- 1/30/2013 5:26:57 AM >


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RE: Visibility Modeling - 1/30/2013 9:23:13 AM   
wodin


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quote:

ORIGINAL: simovitch


quote:

ORIGINAL: phoenix

KOAD? Development area. What are you referring to Vandorenp? I'm intrigued.

The development area is a restricted server available only to the development team. Paul Van Doren is on our development team and is working on an expansion module based on an alternative German deployment in the Ardennes.

Anyone who witnessed the price flame-wars knows that Wodin is not a member of the development team.

Just read this...oouch!!

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RE: Visibility Modeling - 1/31/2013 8:36:34 PM   
vandorenp

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: RockinHarry
For my own map/mission works I settled to the following values, which work fairly well for me:

Visibility Weather Modifiers
Clear: 80
Lt Rain/Haze: 30
Heavy Rain/Mist: 15
Downpour/Fog: 10
Peasouper: 5

iaw international standards KOAD Visibility Weather Modifiers are set to

Clear: 100
Lt Rain/Haze: 50
Heavy Rain/Mist: 20
Downpour/Fog: 10
Peasouper: 2

quote:

ORIGINAL: RockinHarry
The longer Visibility ranges IMHO too much encourages the AI to blast every target of opportunity (vulnerable units, on the move ect.), instead of better support an ongoing attack, or defense.

This observation seems to speak to the hard coded fire support plan. What ever the protocol is the results you describe well is more like a first person shooter. The player ought to be able to see (know) and set the priorities of fire.

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RE: Visibility Modeling - 2/1/2013 6:06:13 AM   
RockinHarry


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Yep, I too took the data frpm Wiki, as well as from other games as reference, mixed with bits of own observations and from reading historical weather reports.

Wished for some more artillery usage options, that also the AI is able to use properly. Preparatory bombardement, counter battery and such stuff. It´s hard to grasp the AI usage of on call missions. As said, it mostly appears to look for enemy units that can be hurt rather easily and are targets of opportunity. The original long visibility ranges underlines this behavior even more, as more enemy units far from the frontlines present themselves as opportunity targets. I figured, this behavior is not coupled with victory conditions - % of enemy to kill/Total kill points and even when all set to Nil, the AI blasts away just as if many kill points would still be earned, instead of putting a focus on enemies near the victory locations. There´s surely some improvements needed.

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